Sunday, December 18, 2022

Halfling Cultural Dimensions for Worldbuilders

Halflings take pleasure in simple things that most everyone else recognizes as good but which most don’t think is enough to fill their lives; such as their gardens, a calm evening in their parlor, good food, and simply doing their job. More than any other genus halflings love their homes, families, and their place in the world. This means that few of them ever leave the place where they live, yet some are struck by a desire to wander and explore the world. These halflings especially can come to enjoy treasures collected and won through luck and skill. Such treasures might include seeds for plants, a folk songs or recipes from distant lands, as much as any treasure that could be sold. 

Halflings feel close bonds to the other members of their community and will rarely seek to make waves which might disrupt the lives of others. Their willingness to simply accept things as they are, their lack of the obsession with creating, inventing, permanence or success that other genus have leads others within their communities to frequently feel a sense of repressive boredom. 

The halflings are joyful, however, and enjoy things that can bring what they see as authentic joy, such as family and entertainments, however, and are frequently especially skilled at stories, plays, and songs. As such they are hospitable and cordial, desiring to maintain stability and avoid confrontations which could lead to a shattering of the peace. They will, in most cases, simply endure unpleasantness until it goes away, but if the thing that makes them uncomfortable doesn’t seem likely to pass they can react with cunning and violence as needed. 

Cultural Dimensions

Halflings have their own unique cultural dimensions which reflect the deities that created them, their traditions, and most especially their natural luck. 

You can learn more about the Cross-Cultural theory of cultural dimensions and how to use it in Worldbuilding here.

In general, however, the members of a culture are surveyed with their numbers for each dimension being averaged, telling us where on the dimension the culture is. For example, a halfling on culture which scores a 70 on the Ambling Dimension would be very ambling, while one which scored are 30 would be contented.

The purpose of these dimensions is to help make it easy for you to quickly think of new cultures allowing you to give different personalities to various halfling villages. 

I have created one of these sets of dimensions for Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, and Seelie Goblins on my Patreon. 

Ambling – hearth

All halflings take pleasure in simple things, good food, restful squishy chairs, pleasant company, and a fun book being some of their many delights. They rarely ever seek wealth or fame, as ambition for its own sake isn’t something they want and it would be hard for them to imagine simply being happy playing in mounds of gold like a dragon when they could instead lay in the heather with a picnic of delicious cheeses and wines. Of course, their desires do require some effort, and the type of effort they enjoy going to is a major part of their culture. 

Ambling Halflings enjoy the pleasures of the natural world and things that come from the outdoors. They might spend a lot of time breeding the perfect apple trees and delight in eating the apples straight from the tree or dried in the sun, reserving things like pies for rare occasions. They enjoy ambling through the wood searching for the perfect blackberries to mix with simple farmers cheeses and honey. 

Hearth Halflings enjoy the pleasures of home. They enjoy being inside, and so many of their projects and foods reflect this. Their projects generally tend to focus on their homes and the gardens immediatly near them. They will spend a lot of time with friends, playing games and the like.  

Comfotable – Avidness

Halflings love their homes and simple beauties, but the amount of emphasis they put on each of these is an important reflection of their culture. 

Comfortable Halflings enjoy working and relaxing in their homes or the fields and forest near them. They like nothing more than to simply putter around the house or the nearby wilderness, nibbling on some fruit or cakes and seeing that everything is just so. When they make a quilt, they do their best to make certain it is snuggly and comfy, because that is what they want out of it, after all, something they can curl up in without worry. 

Avid halflings love to discover and create beautiful things. They are more likely to spend time exploring, looking for the prettiest spot and prettiest moment they can, rather than simply relaxing by a stream. What’s more it’s not enough to simply have a snuggly quilt, because they enjoy the process of making it as much or even more than using it, and so will find ways to drag out the time it takes to get all the little details right so that when it’s done they and others can forever see the beauty in it, and they can remember the process of exploring the quilt as they created it. 

Cordial – Enthusiastic 

Halflings are friendly and kindly hosts. Within their own communities they don’t usually just say hello, they engage those they see in conversation, clasp hands, and likely hug. 

Cordial halflings tend to enjoy pleasant conversations with very little substance. Indeed, happiness to them comes from avoiding anything that might cause discomfort. When they meet a stranger or friend they’ll ask them about foods they like, particularly good meals they had, terrible rainstorms they might have been caught in, or beautiful things they’ve seen. 

Enthusiastic halflings believe in actually getting to the heart of who a person is, that’s how friendships are formed. They might ask questions like; When was the last time you cried and what were you crying about? Or What do you do for fun? Why do you enjoy it? Many who aren’t aware of these halflings culture will feel ambushed by their probing questions and the way they will often share intimate details about their life unprompted. 

I absolutely need feedback and your thoughts on this so that it can be the best resource possible for worldbuilders.